One of the key things in life is to distinguish the difference between success and victory. Oftentimes in life, we tend to focus on success rather victory. Success is a term that’s often used commonly in the business world. Victory is a term that’s used for combat. And which is the better picture of a church? A business or an army? Did Paul not exhort us to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ?
Here’s another way of looking at it. When Jesus died on the Cross, did He look like a success? Everyone thought He was a failure. All His disciples forsook Him. As far as they were concerned, Jesus failed. But what happened at the Cross? The victim became the greatest victor! He gained the victory and overcame the power of sin and death. He didn’t look successful, but He sure was victorious.
The Book of Proverbs says that a man who has control over his spirit is better than a man who can take a city. This is fascinating. You can take a city and look successful, but if you can’t even control your own spirit, what’s the point?
A pastor of 50 who can control his spirit is better, according to my Bible, than a pastor of 5,000, who can’t. One has victory, but the other only looks successful. But what’s true success? Contend to be victorious, not just to look successful. Because you can fool most people most of the time, but you can’t fool, all the people, all of the time, especially God. We must strive to live the authentic Christian life.
In ancient Rome, when a victorious General returned from the Great War campaigns, they’d parade him through the streets. As he was paraded before the adoring crowds, a servant, whose job it was to repeat to the General, “memento mori” always trailed him. This is Latin for: “Remember you’ll die”.
The reason for this was to remind the General that although he was victorious at that moment, and the crowds loved him, one day, he’d face reality and he’d inevitably die. It was a reminder of his mortality and also to keep things in perspective, and to instill humility.
No matter how successful we are and become, we must always be reminded of our mortality and weaknesses; which is why Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes 7:2 that it’s better to go the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting. It reminds us of our mortality and that this world is only transient. Don’t focus on what astonishes. Focus on what transforms.
There are many megachurches around. But if they’re just mega in numbers, and micro in quality, then what’s the point of it? My mentor and spiritual father, Bro. Bailey once shared this with us. He said that there were two leading churches in a city. One only had 200 and the other, 3,000. The Lord gave a lady in the fellowship a vision, that in the church of 3,000, she saw only 11 candlesticks, but in the church of 200, there were 200 candlesticks. Question: Which church was more successful in the eyes of the Lord?
So, ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many people we’ve in Cornerstone; what matters is, are we burning in our hearts for Him? Do we love Him with everything we’ve got? Are we growing in the Lord? We must ensure that whilst we’re growing numerically, we keep the standards high. Our worship services are not a matter of gathering the faithful, but drawing the Presence of God.